I’ll never forget the day I took that slow, deep breath in – inhaling my reality. My chest swelled as my lungs reached capacity. I forcefully held the air inside them in an attempt to freeze the moment. It was happening. My head began to spin from my attempt to suffocate the realization creeping through my body. My heart was rhythmically drumming in its engorged cavern. That feeling was back, a little more aggressive this time. I knew it was only a matter of time before this happened; this moment was inevitable. It had been taunting me for a while and up until a few months ago, I was successful at silencing its deafening demands. This time however, I had met my match. I exhaled the fear and began to accept that…
…it was time to stop existing and start living.
When you exist you play the part. You do what is asked while mundanely moving through the days. Life almost feels scripted with predetermined climactic moments and a tragic ending. It’s an acceptable and comfortable place to be. Now, shuffle to the right and you have living. Living is a place where your body thrives on the high of excitement just as much as it craves the low of pain. It’s a place where the mind is clear, focused and balanced. Where acceptance, understanding, humility, and patience reign. It’s vibrant, warm, and full of love. It’s a place where every moment and opportunity are respected and experienced.
I had been cat calling and chasing away grandiose plans of self fulfillment and valuable societal contributions for months; actually, being completely honest, it was probably closer to years. I had been gently pawing at ideas, wants, and desires that were shelved just out of my reach. I had placed these dreams on intangible pedestals, longing for their integration into my life while living in their shadows. Fear held me in lockdown. It confined me in a place of existence where I torturously worked an unfulfilling job and surrounded myself with people, places and things that repressed me. I wasn’t living, I was existing – surviving at best.
So what happened? How did a morning no different from any other result in a jarring awakening that catapulted me into living?
At the time, I was unknowingly falling in love with a woman who was causing me to defy complacency; forcing me to be honest and pick myself apart. I was tired of the back and forth games of cat and mouse that were leaving me panting at the hole in the wall, waiting for the next round. I had constructed a superficial world of contentment around myself that distracted me from the shelves above my head. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy. I was living a newfound life of acceptance and appreciation but I was ultimately unfulfilled. I suppressed urges and desires out of fear. Fear of failure and fear of the unknown. I had gained a renewed perspective from observing and after a series of repetitive conversations about my underlying discontentment, my longing for change finally erupted.
What made this morning different from the others was that I didn’t sit on what was happening this time. I didn’t manically ramble about all the things I wanted to change and do only to let it dwindle into glowing embers – the aftermath of a raging fire. I didn’t get on the step stool and safety tuck it out of arms reach on the shelves with the rest of the “unattainable” dreams. I actioned it. I created a plan. I began to break ground for the foundation of the upcoming change. I gave it an entity.
The shift to living and the committment to change did not come effortlessly. The attachment I had to the execution and success of my plan caused excruciating suffering at times, especially when I was faced with unexpected adversities and set-backs. However, I used that pain and weakness to rebuild strength and adapt the plan to the unforseen circumstances. I refused to submit. Almost a year later, I am proud to report the fruits of my labour. I am, almost, exactly where I set out to be - minus a small savings of tuition money for Saydee’s recent surgery. A surreal reward for devotion. I want to say that I was lucky that things worked out the way they did but the truth is, luck had nothing to do with it. Dedication, perseverance and sacrifice brought me to where I am today and allowed my plan to explode into fruition. Almost like one of those lessons our parents try to teach us early in life.
Reflecting on all of this, I can’t help but wonder why it took me so long. I know we get to where we’re meant to be when we’re ready but do we regretfully hold ourselves back out of fear? This also makes me wonder where you are right now. What side of life are you staking your claim in? If you’re simply existing with your head in the clouds, ask yourself why? Is there something, someone or somewhere that you’re longing for but keep tucking it away until you’re ready? What better time to start giving your desires an entity than now…